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Incomes: Medicine versus Law versus Dentistry versus business

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by 4whom, Apr 12, 2007.

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  2. eikenhein

    eikenhein my cat is awesome Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    That is very depressing. I'm definitely not going into primary care.
     
  3. bbas

    bbas Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I wouldn't rely too much on a study from thirteen years ago.
     
  4. eikenhein

    eikenhein my cat is awesome Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    So you think that things have gotten better for primary care docs since 13 years ago? I don't think so...
     
  5. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    Did you actually READ the article, much less understand what it is trying to say?...it is an analysis of the internal rate of return on the investment of time and money in the education and training required for various professions...medical professions will fare "worse" in these comparisons because they require more time (and money) than MBA, Law, or Dentistry...the "business" category will always have the highest IRR because it has the shortest formal education, assuming even that one attends business school for one or two years (Bill Gates was a college dropout, much less not an MBA, and he did OK).

    To conclude from this article that you are "definitely not going into primary care" because it is so "depressing" shows that you do not have a very good grasp on the analysis and its relevance. Understand what is behind the bar graphs.
     
  6. eikenhein

    eikenhein my cat is awesome Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    You seem like a cocky little critter to me, and perhaps you should read the whole article because you are only referring to one aspect of the paper. Everything you said about IRR was summarized in Figure 3, the "bar graph" you talk of. You didn't talk about net present value of investment. The tables and Figure 2 seem to convey more useful information: that is, even after all the years of formal medical education with the time and money put in, primary care physicians earn a noncompetitive wage commensurate of their investment.

    I always had an interest in medical specialization. The article only reinforces my perception of the disparities between generalists and specialists, and from this I will certainly pursue the latter path.

    You and your worthless comments score ZERO points.
     
  7. bbas

    bbas Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    No, but I still would not base an opinion much less a career decision on information that is that old.
     
  8. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    Did you really need this article to "reinforce" the income disparities between generalists and specialists? Hell, the average bear on the street knows that a surgeon makes more money than a family practice doc...and that bear also knows that the family practice doc makes a very nice living, too, far above the average income in the US.

    BTW - I read the whole article. And I have an MBA with an extensive investment analysis background. And there was nothing all that informative or interesting in this article as far as I am concerned, but more power to you, you got some "reinforcement" from it.
     
  9. sirus_virus

    sirus_virus nonsense poster 2+ Year Member

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    What the hell is Business? Are they throwing everyone in business school in one basket? I might agree with the rest of the paper, but the hole 'business' thing is a load of crap.
     
  10. eikenhein

    eikenhein my cat is awesome Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    The average bear would know that the medical system in the United States is not the same as that in Canada, or anywhere else in the world. There are obvious income disparities between generalists and specialists, and the article shows some useful numbers to back the words.

    I don't care about your education background, and my problem with you isn't about your investment analytical abilities. It is your condescending ego and arrogance that deserves a good bashing.
     
  11. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    You need to work on your reading comprehension skills...and looking at your mdapps profile, good luck landing that high paying specialty medical gig...and if you think the numbers in that article from 1994, with data from the 1980s, are "useful" for any kind of current analysis, you are a fool (e.g., the average undergraduate tuition used in the study was $3760 per year - yeah, that is really relevant to 2007).
     
  12. xylem29

    xylem29 7+ Year Member

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    OncoCap: "I'm going into this because I want to do something, not because I'm trying to get something."

    Echoing Onco, I don't think you should count-primary care out simply due to money. You never know, you might end up liking it. I too am planning on non-primary specialties, but I'm keeping an open mind.
     
  13. sirus_virus

    sirus_virus nonsense poster 2+ Year Member

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    When we do go to some type of socialized healthcare system, you guys will wish you had payed more attention to primary care. I will be sorry for the specialists at that point.
     
  14. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    Two general ways to equalize the income and IRR disparity: Either raise primary care pay (while concurrently lowering specialist compensation), or lower the cost of training for primary care docs (lower tuition, more grants, etc). I am betting on the latter approach as more likely palatable public policy...all of this assuming that the coming shortage in docs is primary care - is that the case? - I recently read of a coming shortage in oncologists...and too much "socialized" screwing with the current imperfect system could have unintended results and lead to shortages in specialities, too.
     
  15. 4whom

    4whom 2+ Year Member

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    II think the best route would be to excuse the student loans of those whom go into primary care. Additonally, the government/state should directly give doctors working in underserved areas a bonus to their income and/or a tax break.
     
  16. lsumedgirl

    lsumedgirl Livin' the dream! 2+ Year Member

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    I think I've already seen this same thread (same argument, different title) about 5 times this week. :sleep:
     
  17. 4whom

    4whom 2+ Year Member

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    And have all your responses been equally vapid?
     
  18. Jack Daniel

    Jack Daniel In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    Understatement of the year! :rolleyes:
     
  19. mikeinsd

    mikeinsd predictably unpredictable 2+ Year Member

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    there are a few gov't programs that do loan pay backs, but that is as close as it gets so oh well...

    max payback per year (for each of the 4 years of med school) is 25,000 though, and given the cost of my planned school (keck), that is near-useless
     
  20. eikenhein

    eikenhein my cat is awesome Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I never said I look to enter a really competitive specialization, and certainty not in the lifestyle context you refer to. I have a small inkling of interest in ophthalmology and radiology, but I think that general surgery is a realistic choice.

    I've also been looking through my mdapplicants profile, and I can't say there is anything horribly wrong there. If a GPA of 3.69, an MCAT of 36, and a variety of extracurricular activities is cause to make such sarcastic remarks, perhaps you should do the same to the other 70% of medical school matriculants with lower numbers. Having said that, I almost mistook you as a medical student at a top tier university but I was thoroughly disappointed. You don't have a single acceptance, and still the big ego. I hate to see what you will become if you ever become a physician.

    Yeah, the data is old but as I've said earlier, I don't think the situation for primary care docs has turned out any better in the last few years. If it was bad for primary care docs 20 years ago, what do you think the situation is like now that the tuition has skyrocketed?

    Finally, I have to share a bit of revelation to you. It might be shocking. Having an MBA doesn't make you an authority over other people's choices. Does it matter to you what I decide to do? It is my decision not to pursue primary care medicine, and although it is influenced by the paper presented in this thread, this is certainty not the only reason. I have no reason to further explain my decision or motives to you. The forums are here for useful discussion, not to appease your virtual dictatorship.
     
  21. ryandote

    ryandote Member 5+ Year Member

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    Sweet Jesus!

    Criticizing someone's mdapps profile... bragging your MBA and "extensive investment background"... I'm surprised that you 4-yr olds can even use a computer!

    It would really be fun to put together a betting pool on how long you both could actually keep this circle-jerk up. I really just have to wonder what type of empty life necessitates this fruitless mental masturbation...

    Scratch that! You ought to just keep on keepin' on... one of you is bound to convince the other some day. Maybe not about the point at hand, but certainly about your intellectual prowess.
     
  22. gary5

    gary5 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    When we have socialized medicine, all physicians will be screwed. That's why hilary and obama suck balls.
     
  23. mongrel

    mongrel Assoc. Prof. Dogsuit 5+ Year Member

    I thought we weren't going into medicine for the money... :smuggrin:
     
  24. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    Ummm...is your scintillating post a case of "the pot calling the kettle black?"
     
  25. Eric Lindros

    Eric Lindros Guest

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    Yeah, you're right. The situation has gotten a lot worse since this was written
     
  26. Eric Lindros

    Eric Lindros Guest

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    I like you.:laugh:
     
  27. Green Pirate

    Green Pirate Neurotic Neuro Enthusiast 5+ Year Member

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    aww what a sweet kid :laugh:
     
  28. lsumedgirl

    lsumedgirl Livin' the dream! 2+ Year Member

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    Yeah, I guess I am nagging about this. But it just seems to be a dead horse... the whole "medicine v. dent. v. law." I don't see why everyone is so worried about the financial situation of people in other careers, or who's going to make more money and is it fair?

    Bottom line: go into whatever career makes you happy (work-wise, and financially). Who cares what other jobs pay?
     
  29. UMP

    UMP Recovered Under-Achiever 7+ Year Member

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    Numbers and graphs confuse me... that's why I went in to medicine
     
  30. dutchman

    dutchman 7+ Year Member

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    Yep, if it was that bad thirteen years ago, imagine what it is now.
     
  31. 4whom

    4whom 2+ Year Member

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    So you would be going into medicine if your only prospect for salary was something your average Burger King employee makes? Please.
     
  32. Old ortho

    Old ortho 2+ Year Member

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    You go to business if you main purpose is to make a lot of money. You go to law if you main purpose to make money and screw people. You go to dentistry if your main purpose is to make money and help people. You go to medicine if you main purpose is to help people, have a great passion for medical sciences, and money is secondary to you. I have a lot of respect for medical professionals such as physicians and nurses. I think they are underpaid for the great services they provide to sick patients. But for the effort and money a medical student put in, and then look at the pay per hour he/she will make in 10 years, medicine probably is not best investment if you analyse it in a purely financial standpoint, just like a judge may not make as much money as a high power attorney in private practice. But the society respects physicians more than businessmen, and also respects judges more than attorneys in private practice.

    I am a dental specialist in orthodontics. Like most of my colleagues, I work four weekdays per week and less than 35 hours per week. I make only an average income in my profession but I am very happy and thankful with what I have. I can make a little more if I work an extra one or two days, but like most dentists, we rather use the extra time to spend with our family or hobbies. According to the last survey that just came out, general dentists (family practice) who own their practice make an average of $175,000 per year, which is very close to primary care physicians' salary. The top earning dental specialists (oral surgeons, endodontists, orthodontists) make a little over $300,000 annually, which is very close to a competitive medical specialty (cardiology, orthopedics, opthalmology). If you divide the pay by the hours, dentists probably makes a little more per hour since the average working hours per week for dentists is 35, and for physicians it can be between 40-60 hours per week - and they work more evenings and weekends. Dentists also face less malpractice lawsuits than physicians. On the other hand, the medical profession is more prestigious than other health professions including dentistry, and deservedly so.

    I believe that physicians are underpaid today for their training and hours. But things were different in the 70's and 80's, when some doctors make over $0.5 million or even $1 million annually. Doctor's earnings actually may have dropped in the last two decades during to aggressive fee cutting imposed by Medicare, HMO's, PPO's and managed care. The trend in managed care is also affecting dentistry, podiatry, and optometry, although may be not as severe as medicine. That is why plastic surgery and orthodontics are relatively more lucrative because HMO's don't cover for these services and patients need to pay for the most part. The downside to be in a lucrative profession is that there is more and more intense competition every year from other practitioners because they want a piece of the pie. Today more general dentists are performing orthodontics without training because they want to make $. And I bet there are MD's out there doing laser and plastic surgery without much training due to $ factor too.

    My advice is pick the profession based on what is more important to you: money, prestige, live style etc.
     
  33. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    As a prior poster noted, medical salaries have been receding over the last decade by an average of about 7% (with primary care leading the way at about 10%), while other professions have seen growth by about 7% (according to a more recent study and NYTimes article this past year). If you accept the premise of the above article at the time it was published, you pretty much have to concede it is an even bigger differential now.

    Go into medicine only if it's what interests you. The up front training costs and decreases in reimbursements make it a questionable decision if finances are your driving concern.
     
  34. iproblem

    iproblem Banned Banned

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    if you think doctors out there work purely for the sake of being a "savior" of the human race then you must be smoking some serious crack. i can guaratee you that over 90% of premeds and doctors are into medicine solely for the money.
     
  35. Old ortho

    Old ortho 2+ Year Member

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    If you go into medicine solely for money, you maybe disappointed. Go and talk to 10 MD's out there who have been practicing for a few years and ask them the financial reward relative to the effort they put in, and you may be surprised.
     
  36. iproblem

    iproblem Banned Banned

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    thats why i am warning the rest of these misguided and ill-informed students here that to be aware of the facts here. many MDs will go all out and violate their moral ethics just to earn some extras. its sad and it makes me sick.
     
  37. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Not a chance. More like 90% are in it mostly because it is something that interests them, or did at one point. About 8% are perhaps mostly in it for the money, and will likely spend their entire career whining about how they don't have enough. The remaining 2% are going into it for altruistic or other reasons. If you are in that latter 10%, there are probably better things you could be doing.
     
  38. DocH0lliday

    DocH0lliday 2+ Year Member

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    Hold on there, cowboy. You're not the only one missing things. You're failing to recognize a very salient take-home message from that article: primary care physicians spend a long time in training, work long hours, and are (comparatively speaking) poorly reimbursed for their efforts.

    It is perfectly reasonable for someone to find that article depressing.
     
  39. dutchman

    dutchman 7+ Year Member

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    We are already past the question of "is there money in medicine?", which the answer is NO. The next question now is "can you afford to pay back your loans?".
     
  40. Steve203

    Steve203 5+ Year Member

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    I started to read this thing but it was too boring

    I decided to have another beer instead
     
  41. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    This is hardly an earth-shocking revelation. But if it's what you enjoy doing, find it interesting, the income is enough to be comfortable.
     
  42. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    It's not an accident that state schools and loan repay programs (for working with the underserved) are increasing in popularity in recent years.
     
  43. StealthDog

    StealthDog U of MN 2010 Veterinarian 7+ Year Member

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    If you think that's depressing, they should have added vet med in there- it would make primary care seem downright lucrative! I will leave ~$100,000 in debt and my starting salary will be somewhere around $56,000.
     
  44. lsumedgirl

    lsumedgirl Livin' the dream! 2+ Year Member

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    Well, actually, I'm not going into medicine for the money. Granted, it'll be a nice perk, but it's not my motivator. If I were chosing a career solely based on money, I'm sure there are plenty of things that pay better than physician, that don't require as much work.

    That being said, all of the physicians that I know/work with, seem to be making a little more money than BG has to offer. They're doing financially well and haven't had to resort to welfare, or streetcorner begging.

    I'm going into medicine b/c that's the only thing I want to do in life. Not b/c of the paycheck I'll be getting. And I honestly don't care if some stranger on the internet believes me or not.
     
  45. armybound

    armybound future urologist. Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    you couldn't pay me enough to go into dentistry or law.

    .. which is why most of us are where we are.
     
  46. Jnj2102

    Jnj2102

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    Thanks for this post!! This is very helpful! I have been trying to decide if I want to pursue medicine or dentistry and this broke it down for me. I think I was caught up in the prestige of being a physician, but what I really want is to have time for family and hobbies. I want to make money and help people. I feel like I could fit in much better with a dental career. I am also interested in being a orthodontist, although I would be satisfied working as a general dentist.


     
  47. futureboy

    futureboy 7+ Year Member

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    Holy thread bump, Batman!
     
  48. STAT EKG

    STAT EKG 7+ Year Member

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    +1

    I'd be bored to death in law, business, or dentistry. Interest in medicine beats money as a factor in my decision to be a doctor... and it's not even close.

    Additionally, nobody has talked about job security as a doctor. I know dozens of business majors (several with MBAs), and only a few have good jobs right now... of those few, almost half are about to lose their jobs. Business is a hugely volatile field, generally speaking.

    Isn't law a pretty iffy field too?

    Also, not all non-specialist physicians are undercompensated and work like 60 hours/week. Emergency medicine docs are a good example. ER medicine is mostly 12-hour shift work where 12 shifts/month is full-time (at least in my area). That's a lot of time off... and these doctors still get paid very well.
     

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